Thursday, December 11, 2014
Saturday, November 1, 2014
- Silent sitting/meditating. Start with 5-10 minutes of sitting silently. Allow thoughts to arise and pass by. Focus on the breath. This will train you to center and focus for more intensive work. It can also be the most important step in tuning in and getting to know yourself, paving the way for personal transformation.
- Candle gazing. This is really just meditation with a focus point. It can also help to awaken intuition and divination skills. Sit for 5-10 minutes gazing at a candle flame. You can look at the center of the flame, the edges, the space around it; just focus on the flame and your breathing. Don’t try to interpret anything about the candle or any experience you may have. Just go with it.
- Chanting/Singing/Toning. This is a fun option for people that may have difficulty focusing on one object for several minutes. Sound can be very healing, and this practice can also help awaken the ability to enter trance. You can sit or stand or dance if you choose. Find a chant or a song you like and practice it daily. You could chant one of the many Goddess chants, or a mantra, or write your own. You can also tone, which is chanting sounds as opposed to words. Start with vowel sounds and let it flow. Chanting OM or MA are also good starting points.
- Going for a walk or other activity in nature. Our spirituality is based in reverence for the earth, and so not all of our practices should take place within four walls. Find a park, a path, or a trail that you like, and go there regularly. Notice the plants and animals around you, the way the place changes with the seasons. Feel the earth beneath your feet and the wind on your skin. Practice feeling at peace and one with nature.
- Altar-tending and Devotion. You don’t have to have an altar to start a daily practice. I’ll write more about building altars at another time, but for now just know that an altar can be anything that holds symbols or objects that are personally meaningful to you. Shrines are similar to altars, except that they are specifically a place for a representation of a deity to “live” and is respected as such. Both can serve as a focal point for your practice. Giving devotion to deity can be an important part of daily practice, but you don’t have to start there. If there is a deity you are interested in getting to know, you can start with an object or symbol that is relevant to their myth and worship. Meditate on that object, chant their name, and see what comes to you.
- Cleansing and Grounding. To prepare the space, body, and spirit for the work, we will cleanse with salt, water and/or smoke. We then center our awareness and ground our energy into the circle.
- Casting a circle. This defines the sacred space we are working in and creates a magical boundary. The act of defining the sacred space is said to place us “between the worlds” where we are no longer fully in physical reality and have the ability to reach the Divine and affect change on the world.
- Calling the Directions. We invite the four cardinal directions: North, East, South, West and the Four Elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Depending upon tradition you will start in the North or East and move clockwise, calling upon the direction and its associated element to join the circle and be honored. We then call Center – Spirit. This varies for different traditions, and sometimes this is combined with casting the circle.
- Invocation. We invoke deity to the circle, to join us and be honored, to hear our prayers, and lend Her aid. The deity invoked will depend upon the type of ritual and who you are comfortable working with. I discourage invoking more than one deity into circle, unless you are very skilled and comfortable working with each of them.
- Magical working, meditation, devotion. This is the “meat” of the ritual and is the essential purpose and intent. You should always have an intent for ritual; I discourage conducting a full ritual without a solid intent or work to do.
- Sharing Food and Drink/Cakes and Ale. The sharing of blessed food builds community, and also does the important work of helping to ground us back into our bodies following ritual. You should always offer some to the deity and any other beings who lent their presence to your circle.
- Devoking and Opening. Work in reverse to release the deity, release the directions (moving counter clockwise this time) and open the circle. I prefer to do this before food and drink.
Sunday, August 3, 2014
This week (in the Northern Hemisphere) is the celebration of Lughnasadh or Lammas, depending upon your particular flavor of Wicca. And it is a cross-quarter day between the Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
I am an early 30-something. I read voraciously as a child, explored the world around me, and began having and recognizing my first spiritual experiences by the time I was 5. At 18, I had my first true Awakening to who I was and my purpose in this life. Through that time, I devoured every book I could find on Goddesses, Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism. Who were these people that felt so similar to the way I did? You mean there are others, and have been for a couple of decades? I’m not alone? I didn’t know anyone else personally, but knowing they were out there was exhilarating.
Enter the Internet. I remember the internet coming into my home my last year or two of high school. Suddenly, I had access to other people from all around the world. I began talking to others who had been in “The Community” for years. I had people to look up to, to emulate, to respect. Down the rabbit hole I went.
Many years and many communities later, here I stand. I was brought up having to learn everything on my own, but matured with connections to some of the most influential people in our movement. Some at arm’s length, some very close to my heart. I’ve participated in some amazing things, built and facilitated some incredible groups and organizations, and began leading in my early 20’s.
Technically, we are considered Generation Y. I hate that moniker and the entire stereotype that has formed around it. As Hecate Demeter said here, we don’t get the credit we deserve.
But, there is something generational happening. Those in my age range have been sandwiched between card catalogues and the dawn of the internet age, between the rise and fall of some of the greatest individuals of the movement(s), between struggling for information and being overwhelmed by it, between the passion of revolution and the passivity of numbness. We straddle two worlds and two eras.
We stand poised, ready, waiting, prepared to cross the threshold and fully step into our leadership. And yet, we look around and wonder, who and what are we going to lead? An apathetic and disillusioned younger generation that would rather tweet than talk? A planet that we have sickened? Countries ravaged by war and poverty?
And now, in the last couple of years, many foremothers, forefathers, and influential people of the Pagan Movement have died. We lost my own dear teacher and friend, Shekhinah Mountainwater, in August 2007, and I’ve struggled since. The losses are painful and sad. It also strikes a chord of fear and dismay in my heart. These people who laid the foundation and nurtured the soil of our movement are gone. I look around at what is left without them, and it worries me. Those who are like me in my generation want to do you proud, to carry the torch, to make a difference in this world that you cared so much about, and were brave enough to stand for.
There are a few lights that shine, but they are harder and harder to see in the fog of frightening news, “reality” TV, and information overload. Finding a mentor seems to be even harder, as people jockey for their 5 minutes of internet fame, and charge a thousand dollars or more for classes on “finding your inner ….” (I am 100% behind financially supporting the leaders, teachers, and clergy of our religions, but I see this getting out of control) Even finding like-minded individuals seems to be getting harder as we divide ourselves across lines of false conflict and illusion.
The need and desire is just as real now as it was when books like Drawing Down the Moon, Spiral Dance, The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries, Ariadne’s Thread, and others came out. It’s just clouded by the illusion of the age we live in.
I don’t yet know where we go from here. There is always talk about those buzzwords authenticity and inclusion and diversity; about right living, standing in your power, and being true to yourself while respecting differences. The challenges that face us are great. They might be insurmountable. But those who came before felt the same way and did it anyway, laying the foundation piece by piece, figuring it out as they went along. We must find a way to continue that work.
I plead to the older generations to reach out to those who are straddling worlds and trying to trudge on through the muck. I call upon my generation to take your place among your peers - some of us do still give a shit. And I promise the younger generation that I will do my best to leave a future for you, and my hand will be here when you are ready.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Now, I am resurrecting it, and will be publishing to only this blog. Why continue to fragment and compartmentalize who I am? Why should I shy away from sharing all that I am and do with the world, especially when it is under some degree anonymity? Indeed. I shan't.
So, here we go. We'll take it a day at a time and see what magic happens! I hope you will join the journey.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Prayer to Hekate
written by Syren
Samhaintide in the Year of our Goddess 10,009
You who were created from darkness,
born from the womb of nothingness
Hekate, Mostly Lovely One,
to You I pray.
Guardian of Crossroads
You who sees what came before, what is, and what lies ahead
Propolos, guide me on my path.
Keeper of the Keys
Protectress of the ancient wisdom
I pray to thee, as your daughter
Most Magnificent Goddess
Phosporous One, bare your torch for me.
Through you, I face my fears
Guiding me into ever greater depths,
until you stand with me at the final mystery.
It is in honor of you that I pray.
Monday, September 21, 2009
The first time I meditated on Hekate, she appeared to me in a continually shifting face- wrinkled skin with young, glinting eyes- a young face with wise, ancient eyes- black hair, grey hair, white hair- as soon as I thought I had a fix on what she looked like, she shifted again. I knew from that point that all of my preconceived notions I had of her were wrong, or only partially right.
I consider Hekate to be a matron Goddess of feminists. Her powers have been degraded and obscured by patriarchy for millenia. Once considered a goddess of Heaven, Earth, Sea, and (later) Underworld, a wise maiden moon goddess, she has become to many a gruesome hag associated with witches (in the pejorative sense) and black magic, death and ghosts, and a danger to men. She represents patriarchy's unconscious fear of the dark feminine.
She is every woman's potential- witch, seer, medium, healer. She is the shamanic priestess who moves between worlds, bridging the worlds to effect healing and regeneration.
As the Triple Goddess at the crossroads, she helps us to see past, present, and future with clarity. We look back to the lessons we have learned, see the warnings and potential dangers in front of us, and our path into the future. She whispers to us, gives us prophetic dreams and psychic visions.
She represents the Dark Maiden-Mother-Crone – she is all three in one and to me, surpasses this common method of classifying Goddesses. She is the embodiment of these energies and shows us that these archetypal energies are within us at all times as well. Just as she easily slips between worlds, she shifts from Maiden-Mother-Crone.
Hekate is a most ancient goddess; though she is most commonly thought of as Greek, she far precedes Greek society. Hekate originates from the birth of time. She is a daughter of the Most Ancient One- she came forth from the Nothingness of Creation. The Greeks refer to her, and the other Ancient Ones, as the Titans- a race of deities who were present before the arrival of their Gods. Hekate has also been referred to as a daughter of Nyx, the Goddess of Creation and of Night. She has been linked with deities from many ancient cultures, including Egypt, Asia Minor, and Old Middle Europe. Her presence is eternal and her worship is ancient.
However, it is without a doubt that the most well known place of her worship is Greece. We have the greatest record of her worship as well as mythological stories from that period. She was worshiped as a Greek Goddess and was also absorbed into the Roman pantheon. There are approximately twelve centuries of recorded Hekate worship, from 8th century BCE to 4th century CE.
For the Greeks, she served several functions. No single one is unique to her, but she is the only goddess to serve all of them.
Hekate Propylaia- 'the one before the gate'. She offered offered protection from outside evils. As protectress, statues were erected outside temple entrances, outside of homes, and at crossroads. These statues were called hecterion, and represented her as triforma- either 3 maidens with 6 arms, or as one body with 3 representative heads of her sacred animals.
Hekate Propolos- 'attendant who leads'. This comes from her mythology as attendant to Persephone, helping to lead her from the underworld. However, she also led spirits of the dead across the river and to the spirit's final place in the underworld.
Hekate Phosphorous- 'light bringer'. She is commonly represented as carrying two torches. She is the torch bearer that lights the way. A common invocation- En Erebos Phos: In Darkness, Light- is in homage to this aspect.
Hekate Kourotrophos- 'child's nurse'. Many Greek goddesses were considered protectresses of mothers and children, so this is not unique to her. However it is played out in the Demeter-Persephone myth.
Hekate Chthonia- 'of the earth'. This is probably a later epithet, and came to be associated with her qualities as a sorceress.
Hekate Soteira- 'savior'. To the Chaldean oracles, she was known as “savior of the world.”
To me, all of these are divisions of her totality as Ancient One. She arose directly from the primal void and the forces that were present at the onset of creation. As such, she is guardian of the vast depths of our unconscious and the collective memory. She lights the way, showing us our vast past, illuminating our origins.
As she was present at the beginning, she is all things. She holds within her the seed of creation, the spark of all being. She is the deepest dark of nothingness, and she is the light of new life. She is the old crone of death, the mother giving birth, the protective and fierce maiden. She is life and she is death. When we invoke her, we invoke all these things. We invoke the power of the cosmos. And she does not let us take it lightly. She is to be approached with reverence and respect, and she expects us to hold the same reverence and respect for ourselves- for we all all made of the same divine essence. It is that that she protects for us, and that which she illuminates when we are ready.
Whenever I have need of her, she is there. She has placed a cloak about my shoulders when I needed comfort. She has protected me when I felt unsafe. She has dragged me into the darkest, swirling void so that I may find my own light and know true magic and rebirth. She is indeed my Soteira.